07:48 EST, 9 June 2013
07:48 EST, 9 June 2013
Still haven’t booked a holiday for this summer? You may well be after somewhere that is not only a sure-fire bet for warm, sunny days, but also offers great value for money.
With the pound weaker against the euro and other European currencies than last summer, day-to-day costs for British travellers are generally higher than a year ago. But if you know where to go and who to turn to, you can still find bargain breaks….
Good value: You can dine out cheaply at lovely Kyrenia in Northern Cyprus
Bookings nosedived after the country’s financial crisis in March. While they have recovered to some degree, companies such as Cyprus specialist Cyplon Holidays (0800 050 9632, cyplon.co.uk) report that they have more unsold holidays than in previous years. The best deals, says Cyplon, are in Paphos. And check out the late-deals section on thomson.co.uk, which flags up hundreds of Cyprus holidays with big savings.
Turkish North Cyprus has been unaffected by the financial crisis. I was there last month and was astonished at how cheap most things were. At Niazi’s, the best restaurant in the lovely resort of Kyrenia, a ‘full kebab’ meal, including a vast spread of mezes and endless grilled meats, will set you back just £15. Contact Anatolian Sky (0844 273 0689, anatoliansky.co.uk) for packages.
Holidays in the big resorts can be cheap but not necessarily cheerful. For charm as well as value, Cachet Travel (020 8847 8700, cachet-travel.co.uk) suggests heading off the beaten track to the rugged Datca peninsula, or to Faralya, a sleepy hamlet a short ride in a dolmus bus from Oludeniz, Turkey’s most photogenic beach.
Beach bargain: The Algarve is Europe’s cheapest destination this year according to the Post Office
Ionian and Aegean Island Holidays (020 8459 0777, ionianislandholidays.com) says Greek hoteliers and villa owners are being more proactive in offering deals. It has a host of packages in June with up to 40 per cent off. The best deals are to Skopelos and Cephalonia.
If you’re into watersports, consider one of Mark Warner’s four Greek resorts (0844 273 7397, markwarner.co.uk). Sailing, windsurfing and childcare are included in rates, with savings of up to £350 per person in June.
According to the Post Office’s latest Holiday Costs Barometer – which compares the price of common purchases such as a meal, drinks and sun cream – the Algarve is Europe’s cheapest destination this year. Thomas Cook (thomascook.com) sells packages in all price brackets to the main resorts. Portugal specialist The Villa Agency (01273 747811, thevillaagency.co.uk) picks out Vale de Parra, Praia da Luz and the villages behind the coast for inexpensive places to eat – and says its villas inland are cheaper.
Last-minute deals: The Costa Blanca has a surfeit of villas, so prices are keen
For a villa holiday, the Costas offer better value than the Balearics, and while rentals in the Canaries are affordable in summer, flights are usually dearer than to the Spanish mainland.
The Costa Blanca has a surfeit of villas, so prices are keen – at James Villa Holidays (0800 074 0122, jamesvillas.co.uk), I’m looking at last-minute deals under £600 a week for a substantial villa with pool. Cheap villas and cottages can be found on the northern Spanish coasts, though few have pools.
Casas Cantabricas (01223 328721, casas.co.uk) is offering ten per cent off self-catering places in Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia in June and July.
Getting to France can be far cheaper than other overseas destinations: well under £100 return for a car and passengers on the Dover-Calais route. And no country does camping as well as France. Indigo sites (campingindigo.com) are beautiful, back-to-nature affairs. Canvas Holidays (0845 268 0827, canvasholidays.co.uk) is also offering packages from under £300 for a week in June in a pre-erected tent, including ferry. However, you need to drive south to be assured of the sun.